when we moved to texas 18 years ago (this month), we really had no idea what we were stepping into. we were leaving behind forty years of familiarity. we knew people. we knew the highways. we knew the restaurants. we knew the weather. we knew the culture. we knew the landscape.
texas? not so much.
our first six months in the great state were spent in a two-bedroom apartment. it felt a whole lot like a vacation in a hotel. we didn’t bring much with us from california. we gave away most all of our furniture to some immigrant families we met in our community the last few weeks before we left san diego. we only brought our 18-year-old waterbed, the matching bedroom furniture (vintage dark-stained pine, circa late 60’s), a white, fake-leather recliner love seat, and a few other odds and ends.
we travel lean.
six months was definitely long enough to stay in the apartment with two little boys. because of the financial mess we brought with us to texas (five years on missionary support was quite an adventure…another life-changer i’ll write about somewhere down the road), we didn’t really take “house-hunting” very serious right away. once our apartment lease started to wind down, we knew it was time to start looking.
the only thing we were really convinced of was that we didn’t want to move into a “suburban-type” neighborhood. our boys had grown really comfortable in our multi-ethnic, cross-cultural community in san diego, so we wanted to live in the most culturally diverse area in our new hometown. we wanted to live in the immediate neighborhood of our new church family.
moving to “old town lewisville” was the only decision for us.
i remember the first two houses we looked at (i’ve got a good memory). they are both about a block away from the current…and only…texas farracrib we have known since our great california exodus. and it was “love” at first sight.
it’s a 1971 simple brick ranch house. four-bedrooms and two bathrooms. the kitchen area 5′ by 8’…wanda and i have to “suck it in” if we are both in the kitchen at the same time! it had foundation problems when we bought it, but nobody told us about that pesky little texas annoyance. let’s just say it hasn’t gotten better through the years.
we have a small football field for a backyard. we have ten huge trees. we’ve cut down nine other ones…mostly to help our foundation problem. we have a landscape drainage issue that results in our garage flooding every time there’s a hard rain. and that’s pretty often in texas!
but none of the problems have ever really mattered all that much. when we walked into the house for the first time back in 1995, we fell in love with one thing about the house that made every problem or potential problem fade away. it was the 26′ by 24′ room addition.
it’s just a big old room.
it was the location of our youth group sunday bible studies for years. the same was always true for weeknight youth meetings. the room has hosted baby showers and wedding showers and leadership meetings and monday night football get togethers for thirty men.
our record was 87 teenagers in the room for a young life meeting. i’ll never forget corey inviting 50 of his closest friends for an eighth-grade graduation party. (breaking up a lights-out booty dance, while corey was letting some girls dye his blond hair smurf blue will always rank as one of my most awesome parenting moments!)
the room served our family well as an indoor football stadium, basketball arena (complete with mini-hoops), a sock-baseball field, a dodgeball court, and an indoor nerf-gun park. i can’t tell you how many tennis balls i threw to work on chris’ hand-eye coordination and corey’s blocking skills. wanda is to be praised…
the room was definitely a life-changer for our family. i can’t imagine what our lives would have been like without it.